Researchers have presented findings at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24–27 June 2017) indicating that hypertension is associated with more severe forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The new study suggests that PD patients with hypertension suffer more severe motor symptoms than those with normal blood pressure.
Previous studies have suggested a link between hypertension and PD: for example, University of Basel (Switzerland) researchers published a paper in 2008 stating that some anti-hypertension medications also reduce the risk of developing PD, though the exact link between the two conditions remains unknown.
But, in this latest study, a British and Italian research team has provided evidence to further re-inforce this link. Speaking at the Congress, researcher Baniamino Giordano (King’s College London, UK) said: “Our results show that patients with hypertension have more serious forms of PD than patients with normal blood pressure.”
The team analyzed data from the global Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, focusing on whether specific PD markers differed in early untreated PD patients with and without hypertension. They investigated motor and non-motor symptoms, neurological parameters, several biomarkers and dopaminergic status, as well as other measures.
“It became clear that patients with hypertension exhibit motor symptoms of a greater severity such as muscular rigidity or a slowing of voluntary motor functions as well as a reduced capacity in the affected basal ganglia. However, these data are only preliminary and further analyses are needed to shed light on the link between hypertension and Parkinson’s,” said Giordano.
The study concluded: “The results suggest that optimum management of high blood pressure can also improve PD symptoms.”